KEY POINTS

  • Pneumonia is a condition that could prove dangerous for older adults
  • Detecting the symptoms when they appear will be beneficial for the elderly
  • Some of the common symptoms are cough, fever, chest pain 

Pneumonia is a dangerous condition for older adults as it puts them at a higher risk of developing complications. Detecting the symptoms of pneumonia in older adults at the earliest will ensure that the patient is afforded treatment the soonest. 

The American Lung Association (ALA) stated that the immune system of older adults is not that strong anymore in fighting off the disease. This is why their risk of developing complications, or a serious illness related to pneumonia, also becomes higher.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that in the United States, there are more than 250,000 individuals who need to seek care in a hospital because of pneumonia every year. There are about 50,000 people who died in the U.S. due to the disease.

The Symptoms

Medical News Today reported that the usual symptoms of pneumonia include a cough, which could either be dry or one that produces phlegm. Difficulty in breathing is also indicative of pneumonia. Fever could also be a sign, as well as chest pain. These symptoms, however, may not be the same for older adults as they could exhibit milder or fewer symptoms. 

In older adults, the typical symptoms would include poor coordination, which would often cause falls. Older adults may also show that there was a sudden change in their day-to-day functions. Other symptoms of pneumonia in older adults would include confusion, delirium, incontinence and reduced appetite. 

Pneumonia in Older Adults Symptoms of pneumonia in older adults Photo: truthseeker08/Pixabay

The most common form of pneumonia is bacterial pneumonia, which tends to be more serious. The ALA stated that the symptoms of this type of pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Bacterial pneumonia symptoms would include sweating, fever that can reach high temperatures up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, increased breathing, increased pulse rate, confusion, bluish nailbeds and lips. 

On the other hand, symptoms of viral pneumonia develop over several days. With this kind of pneumonia, the initial signs that one may see or experience include fever, headache, dry cough, muscle weakness and muscle pain. Thereafter, about one or two days, the symptoms would start worsening. At this point, the patient may experience increased coughing, muscle pain, shortness of breath, blue lips and high fever.

When To Seek Medical Advice?

For older adults, pneumonia can become serious. They must also seek immediate medical advice if they notice breathing difficulties, coughing up blood, or chest pain. Other symptoms that need immediate medical attention include fainting, high fever, confusion and severe cough with mucus.